A couple of years ago, when we were relatively new to one of our many apartments, we didn’t have any window treatments. CM put together a private, light-blocking solution featuring one of the biggest brand names out there: Starbucks. Unfortunately, Starbucks doesn’t make curtains, but they do produce plenty of cardboard boxes.
Thankfully, we’ve graduated from cardboard boxes to fabric curtains, but the curtains that we have up still aren’t the ideal window treatments. (The joke around here is that they’re more like ‘window punishments’.) They’re kind of half-heartedly set up on tension rods, one of which falls down at least once a week.
I think part of why we have such crude curtaining is our uncertain living situation. Depending on what happens on the job front, we might need to move to another neighborhood. Or we may just come across a better deal. We’re hesitant to invest too much in a place that we may be leaving on a few weeks notice. And we conveniently ignore the fact that a window treatment project would take just a couple of hours at most.
My alter-ego recently tweeted this while browsing apartment rental listings around New York:
Listed as one of four amenities in apartment listing: Light. #hoorayithaswindows #oramassiveholeinroof
For real. I think that the other amenities listed were
- Hardwood floors – which we like.
- Subway – which shouldn’t count as an amenity unless I can step out the front door directly onto a train.
- A fourth one which I can’t recall. Toilet? Oxygen?
I’m vowing to myself that this will not be a “We chose to live in New York City and have it so tough boo hoo” post. The living situation here is just comical in the obscene prices that you pay for simple conveniences, and I like to talk about comical.
For a couple of years, we lived in 1-bedroom setups on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, usually with no dishwasher and definitely with no laundry in the apartment or the entire building. As one would expect, everything is a tradeoff when it comes to rent. One apartment had great natural light, but was on the fifth floor, no elevator. Another place was a (relatively) cheap ground floor unit, but it was miniscule.
We’ve always wondered what we could get in other cities for what we’ve paid around here, so I did a little research. Of course, this is subjective depending on what part of town you look in, etc., but it’s fun to see how different cities compare in general.
Our old hometown – a vibrant community centered around the University of Florida.
What we’d get for our money:
- 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 1678 square feet, newer home in a community with swimming pool, tennis courts
We would feel like we were returning as royalty moving into such a place. Continue reading
It’s 2:38 am, and I just finished hand-wringing our clothes to dry in the bathroom. As I type, I can feel the effects of the detergent starting to dry my hands, so I better type fast. Do they make a hand softener, like they do fabric softener? Oh, I think it’s called lotion.
As we all know, when one is hand-wringing clothes to dry in the bathroom within the 2:00am–4:00am window, one’s thoughts veer toward the existential. As I twisted the water out of a pair of Thomas the Tank Engine undies to the tune of the reverberating splat of laundry water on tub, I realized that I never pictured life looking like this.
I wondered about how we got here and what’s going to happen next. We don’t intend on WonderWashing forever. Of course, laundry is not the main point here, but it’s indicative of where we are in this arc of the story. And then I thought if I could sum up where we are now in one sentence. Here’s what I came up with:
We are parents who are in a transition as Cool Dad, unemployed, continues to build his career, and Cool Mum learns how best to raise their 3-year-old and 10-month-old sons in a small apartment in New York City, one of the most expensive, competitive, and creative cities in the country.
Of course, that leaves out a lot of important details, and I could probably come up with something better during a decent hour of the day, but I think it’s a concise way to express where we are in life right now. It’s a cool exercise, too, to step back and pick what the important arcs in your story really are.
Can you sum up where you are in life right now in one sentence?